There are two ways of understanding the Saviour in the Gospels. The most familiar is that of St John's gospel, an approach "from above". It begins with the divine Jesus, the Word who "became flesh" and returning to the Father opened the way for us to share in his divine life. The approach of the other three gospels – less familiar, but very important in an age in which many must find the Christian faith anew – is "from below". It begins with the man from Nazareth who made such an impression upon those who met him, and retraces the journey into the fullness of faith made by those who first became his followers.
Today's historical scholarship is an invaluable assistance to us as we follow this way exploring all that the gospels can tell us. Contemporary scholars point out what a remarkable figure Jesus turns out to be. Far from undermining our faith in Jesus as the eternal Son of the Father, this approach brings home to us that the life of Jesus only makes sense in the light of what Christian faith tells us about him. Through his human life we are led deep into the mystery of God.
This talk covers a lot of ground. Groups may choose to discuss it in more than one session. The questions given below are meant to facilitate discussion. Use them as you find them helpful.